Doe Castle

Map Reference: C085318 (2085, 4318)

I visited Doe Castle in 1975 when all the photos on this page were taken. Another visit is long overdue. The castle was built sometime before 1544, when it is first mentioned regarding MacSweeney Clan disputes. Some survivors of the Spanish Armada were granted refuge there in 1588. In 1614 in was in the hands of Captain John Sandford who repaired the castle and its bawn. In 1642 Owen Roe O'Neill landed there with 100 Irish veterans. Towards the end of the 18th century the lands came into the possession of George Vaughan Harte and c1800 he began to restore the castle. All had been reduced to ground level except for the tower house. Evidence of this restoration include inserted fireplaces and the initials GVH set into the wall.

The present ruins include a four-storey tower house with a three-quarter round flanking tower at the N corner and a larger, almost detached round tower at the S corner. The bawn has a round flanking tower at the N corner and a square gatehouse tower in the middle of the SW wall.

On the external face of the NW wall of the larger round tower is a 16th century trapezoidal tomb slab. It is a carved with an elaborate cross with an interlace centrepiece from which radiate 7 spear-shaped terminals. The shaft of the cross has a double band of interlace and it stands on a five-step base. On the left of the shaft are several carved animals. On the right are several interlace designs, a vine-leaf pattern and the carving of an animal. The cross is dated 1544 and the sculptor was MADONIUF ORAVAITY.

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